Call for Nominations: James Madison Sunshine & First Amendment Awards

Deadline: January 11, 2013

The Society of Professional Journalists-Northern California chapter James Madison Freedom of Information Awards recognize Northern California organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to advancing freedom of information and expression in the spirit of James Madison, the creative force behind the First Amendment. SPJ NorCal presents the awards during National Freedom of Information Week near Madison’s birthday, March 16.


Eligible for nomination are Northern California individuals such as journalists, lay citizens, public officials, attorneys, educators, librarians, news organizations and community groups that, during 2012, have defended public access to meetings,public records or court proceedings or otherwise promoted the public’s right to know, publish and speak freely about issues of public concern.

Award Categories
(Note: Awards are not necessarily given in every category; we also accept suggestions for new categories)

Professional Journalist

Nonprofit Organization

Source/Whistle Blower

Career Achievement


Public Official



Legal Counsel

Student Journalist

Electronic Access

News Media


  • The Professional Journalist and Student Journalist awards recognize journalists who have fought for access to records, meetings or court proceedings, who have made exceptional use of public records in their reporting or who have promoted education on FOI issues through stories, editorials or other advocacy.
  • The Public Official award is given to a governmental official who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to keeping public records or meetings public, or otherwise has taken exemplary leadership on FOI or First Amendment issues.
  • The Beverly Kees Educator award recognizes extraordinary efforts by educators to cultivate a devotion to the values of freedom of information.
  • The Norwin S. Yoffie Career Achievement award is named in honor of a stalwart supporter of the chapter’s Freedom of Information Committee, who died in November 2000 after many years of distinguished service to SPJ and the cause of freedom of information.

Submitting a Nomination

Please go here to submit your nomination. There is no contest entry fee.


All entries must be submitted no later than Friday, January 11, 2013.


For additional information, or for questions, please email